Sunday & Monday – at home :-)

The weather has turned much colder.
We have been very spoilt this winter so far.
It has been much wetter than usual but not as cold.

I all of a sudden realised that we are now just over 3 weeks from the shortest day and that the sun has gone from the house.
I have not been home much over the past month so the inevitable has just snuck up on me.
We now have about 6 weeks with no sun.
The fires are both being kept going and I have just turned on the hall heater cuz it was like an ice box down the bedroom end of the house.

Sunday was very much a blob out day.
I am having major neck and back pain which is causing headaches.
I can endure it mostly without pain killers but by the arvo I resorted to taking something.
It didn’t help a lot though

I spent several hours sleeping and reading on the sofa.
Eilidh was reading on the other one – but when I looked over she was also sleeping!

Graham came around for fellowship and lunch.
Then he finished nailing down the bedroom floor he laid over a month back.
It hasn’t dried as much as he hoped so it may have to have more done to it later on.

Seb & Phoebe stayed for Sunday night dinner and then headed out to Havelock.
Phoebe is Seb’s driver at the moment

Mahalia gave me a wonderful head, face & back massage before she went to bed.
It was lovely and allowed me to sleep well.

Tim spent most of the past two days putting carpet into that room and Azzan’s ‘new’ room.
There is no underfelt so that will have to be redone as soon as Tim locates some.
In the meantime though Azzan is delighted to be able to move into his room.
He has been camping in Shanni’s room – which has not really suited either of them – despite the fact that when he was a baby he slept with her for months, if not years.

Shanni & I moved his set of drawers in and then decided his bed would fit in under his table.
Tim altered the legs under it so now there is only 1 instead of heaps.
And because he is still not too tall it fits under without cramping his style!
He has a high bunk too so he alternates where he sleeps depending on his mood.
After sorting all his clothes and putting them away tidily into the drawers I left him to unpack and sort out all his treasures.

His bookcase was painted the same yellow as his door and he decided he wanted it ‘right there’ on his glittery blue wall!
He has another book case built into the wall on the opposite side of the room.
He asked me if he could put books in there.
I was side-tracked and said yes without giving to much though beyond that he was putting his own books in there.
When I checked up on him a bit later on her had stripped out heaps of books from the hall bookcase which I have sorted into authors and types.
I had to put the brakes on him and sort out the ones he could keep and the ones which are beyond him yet.
Mind you – there doesn’t seem to be many books beyond him these days
His latest focus is the human body and procreation.
The library certainly had many books on this topic which is keeping him happy at present.
He is only 8 but has a yearning to know things beyond his years
I am finding that I have to be honest with him and not try and hide things just because we think he is too young.
Sometimes answering his questions is a bit tricky – esp when he asks in front of a crowd.
I am trying to teach him to be a little more discreet and come to me in private

He was happily engrossed in a ‘Captain Underpants‘ book when I went to say good night.
He still has lots to sort through but at least the mess in the hall is lessening.

Mahalia also spent time sorting her room.
She had only just moved in when we went off to town so it was still in a major pickle.
She was happy to have some of her pictures up on the walls again and very proud of the placement of them – ‘not too crowded Mummy’.

Of course I had to take a photo of Shanni’s room too.
They all have very individual rooms – very much them!

I had to have words with a certain 15yr old because of his lack of initiative & attentiveness towards his school work.
He has lost his laptop for now until he starts showing some responsibility.
Playing computer games is way too absorbing and monopolising of his time.
It is not easy being a parent sometimes and it is too easy to spoil and not to make the hard calls.
I have really been trying everything lately and finally had to put my foot down

The breadmaker has broken down so Eilidh made some Artisan bread.
It was delicious.
We had a late lunch so we could enjoy it.
There was not a lot left!

Mahalia cooked most of the dinner with Eilidh’s help.
She made a delicious fish dish in our new frypan.
They also stuffed one of Shanni’s marrows.
Eilidh had never seen a marrow before so enjoyed the preparing and eating experience.
I chucked some pumpkin on to boil and some brown rice in the rice cooker.

I headed off to bed around 9pm.
I have a new stash of books so a good reason to get to bed early

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Saturday – finally a day at home :-)

I spent Saturday trying to get the huge mountain of washing done.
I thought I had plenty to do just from unpacking all of our bags.
But when I went to put a load in the dryer I found a very large load of very damp and extremely smelly sheets and towels.
They had been in there a while and had not been dried properly because it was too big a load.
So I had to rewash them in 2 loads.
There was boxes of veges to unpack but very little fridge space for them.
Thankfully it is colder now so some of them can sit in the wash house until Seb takes his food to work with him on Sunday night.

Mahalia & Azzan were extremely pleased to be together again and were having a lot of fun sorting out their jelly beans from the Candy Shop.
They were also helping each other unpack and clean up their rooms etc.
Mahalia was delightedly showing me that she had been practising & could play more of her piano piece

I made soup for lunch and cleaned up around the kitchen.
Tim & Mahalia had obviously been too busy outside to be doing much indoors.
She hadn’t even unpacked her town bags so that was more washing.
And despite the breeze I didn’t even consider putting any on the line – it was all a bit much really
I just wanted to get it done and dried and away.

I also decided that I seriously need to start back on Weight Watchers again.
I have had such a bad few years emotionally that my weight has skyrocketed beyond what it was when I began losing 4 years ago.
Very depressing.
My Dr had told me to not even think about trying a few months ago when I was at rock bottom.
But I can’t do it any longer.
Especially as my winter clothes just don’t fit.
So I took the plunge, pushed the buttons, paid my 3 months and joined up again.
So here’s to trying again!

Eilidh went through all my knitting needles cuz she is going to knit a top for me.
We got some wool at Spotlight on Friday.
This is what it looks like but mine will be multi coloured without pockets.
  

When Mahalia saw what she was doing she got all excited and remembered when Megan taught her to knit several years ago.
Next thing Eilidh had both the girls started and the were sitting around having a great old knitting circle!
Shanni was also having fun with all the new embroidery threads I had bought for her.
We found some in the bargain bin at Spotlight, so she had the table covered with them and all her beads and necklace making stuff.

I tried to get some things done in the study.
There is a big pile up of mail to wade through.
Payback for being away I guess
I was planning on having an arvo sleep but ended up helping Seb with banking etc.
At least the study was warm.
It was freezing everywhere else.
The temperature has really dropped since we got home.
Tim has put an extra heater in here for me which makes it a much nicer environment to work in but it also makes the rest of the house feel so much colder.

While I was away Tim discovered that when the study got flooded from the heavy rain the carpet had gotten wet too.
He had pulled the desk out and moved things to be able to dry it out for me.
I am so pleased he was able to do this while I was away but I now have multiple piles to sort through to find stuff.

After dinner Tim put the kids to bed while we did dishes and more washing – the pile of dirty washing has diminished but the pile of clean yet to be folded is growing – deal with that later!

Then Eilidh, he & I watched The King’s Speech.
I had had it on pre-order at The Warehouse so brought it home with me.
It was really good.

Friday 27th in Nelson

Frances & John are cleaning out their place and getting rid of heaps of stuff.
John presented Nathan with a set of braces and a hat.
Nathan was taking Seb’s car and going to do his volunteering at The Wood.
I thought he really looked the part.

Afterwards he was meeting up with Paul and having a banjo lesson and then helping Seb & Phoebe to juggle cars.
Seb now has no licence  for 6 months so he has to get his cars organised.
Phoebe drove up so her car was in the equation too.
I left them to sort that mission

The rest of us packed up and headed into town an hour later.
I had time to zip over to Tahunanui and get rid of the gas oven Cat had asked me to bring over and to also go back to the Auto Transmission guys who serviced the Terrano a few weeks ago.
They just had to tweak something as it was not running through the gears properly.
Apparently it takes time to get them to settle in after a major service.

Then I dropped Eilidh & the kids at the library while I went to see my councilor.
After that I had a few things to do in town.
We decided that the Baked Potato stand looked very appealing so while Shanni got them for lunch I shot up to see the lawyer.

Then it was back to the house to pack up and leave.
We got to Victoria’s at 3pm.
I was starving so was glad to finally be able to sit and eat my luke warm stuffed baked potato and chat with Victoria while the kids played.
Another friend arrived with her 4 children.
They were all crazy – running around like mad critters.
Azzan was all read and sweat glistened when he stopped in for a drink!

I was feeling really tired so just stopping and sitting made me not want to get back into the car in a hurry.
But Shanni was stressing about getting home so we left just after 4pm.
The kids connected themselves to the dvd player and Eilidh and I were able to talk in peace.
The drive home was relatively uneventful.
The rain had not created too many problems along the way.
The main problem now is that the council has spread freshly cut gravel on the road and it is very sharp resulting in a lot of flat tyres
Tim had warned us so we were driving carefully.
We came upon Danny & Lyn changing a tyre so I was praying hard that we wouldn’t get one too.

Seb, Nathan & Phoebe had not long arrived home when we got there so we were all unloading and juggling vehicles at the back door

I got the kids fed & headed towards bed and then made poached eggs on toast for Eilidh & myself.

Torrential Thursday

We woke to heavy rain.
Actually more like a torrential downpour.
I sat in bed checking out the news and weather on my laptop.
There was flooding and roads were blocked between us, Nelson & home.

We got ourselves up and packed and waited in the hope that the rain would stop before loading the Terrano.
It really didn’t slow much so Nathan & Shoshannah began the rather wet job of transporting the gear out to the car and loading it up.
Just before we left we got word to say the 2:40pm ferry we were booked on was now rescheduled to 4pm.
Oh well, not a lot we could do so we carried on.
The rain did ease a little so we said our goodbyes to Owen & Hanne and headed south to Wellington.
Managed to find my way to the Correspondence School without any difficulty.
This time we were meeting Nathan’s English teacher.
He took us to the cafeteria and we chatted about the curriculum over hot chocolates.
Once we had sorted everything he then took us to the library so Nathan could get a membership sorted.
We lost Azzan – he was in 2nd heaven trolling along the shelves checking out all the books there.
We managed to prise him away and left to go find Eilidh.
I was lucky enough to find a loading zone park opposite David’s work so waited for them to bring down her bags and we squeezed her in and headed off to Te Papa.
My plan was to get an undercover, out of the rain, carpark and repack the car.
But we got there and the signs were up saying the parking was full!
What?!
Thursday morning and it was crazy.
Not too sure what was going on but everyone and his dog were there!
Thankfully the rain had pretty much stopped and we were able to reload and make room for the back seat passengers to be more comfortable.
Eilidh took Shanni & Azzan to Te Papa for an hour while Nathan & I walked back into the city centre.
Nathan was wanting to get some things at JB HiFi and I had to get Eilidh’s ferry ticket from David.
It was a good excuse to stretch my legs.
I haven’t had much chance to walk in a while as we seem to be car hopping from one thing to another these days.
I was beginning to wonder why I had carried my umbrella as it was too windy to use it.
But as we were about to leave the Old Bank building the heavens opened again.
I was extremely glad of it then!

We had time to zip over to the supermarket and get some fresh bread before meeting up with the others.
They were very excited to have seen the Collosal Squid Exhibition.
It was caught by John Bennett and his crew on the San Aspiring.
This is the boat that Sebastian is going to be working on soon.

We still had plenty of time before we had to join the queues at the ferry so I pulled into Shell and fueled up on the way.
Better now than late tonight – we really didn’t know what to expect with the ferry being delayed and the road flooding etc at this point.
The check in lady said we were now scheduled to leave at 3:45pm so we lined up and waited.
Sure enough we were on board and away well before 4pm.
The harbour was calm.
But having experienced the Cook Strait many times before I was prepared for a rough crossing.
I had pre-warned the kids that if it got rough I was very likely to get sick and they were not to annoy me
Shanni very nicely got a sick bag in preparation!!

But we crossed without hardly a ripple on the water.
It was even calmer than when we came over on Sunday.
And that was in spite of the weather forecast of gales.

We were driving off the ferry just on 7pm.
I decided that I would not risk driving back through the Queen Charlotte Drive just in case we met slips and flooding there.
It was very dark and wet and I had seen a lot of slips from the previous rains when we drove around there on Sunday.
Best to be on the main road on a night like this!

Most of the flooding had subsided and we had a straight run through to Nelson.
We did hit a lot of very heavy downfalls though.
It made the driving really hard at times.
Especially when there was oncoming traffic.
The lights and the heavy rain would make it near on impossible to see.

We got to Frances & John’s at 9pm and thankfully it was dry enough to unload.
I had come prepared with ready to cook food so made a fast dinner and got kids to bed.
Azzan was very tired and couldn’t eat much and was snoring well before Eilidh & Shanni turned off the light.

A lazy day

We had a very blobby day today.
I stayed in bed till way after 9am.
Azzan & Shanni watched tv, ate late breakfasts, and watched more tv.
Nathan played on his computer up in his mezzanine bed.
I talked with Hanne throughout the morning.
I was feeling a bit under the weather.
My neck and shoulder were very achey resulting in a nagging headache that would not go away even with Panadeine.

Hanne made a delicious lentil soup for lunch.
Then I took the children out for a few hours.
We went to the Coastlands Mall looking for the pharmacy.
I found a zip-up checked top and some grey pants for Azzan in the Farmers sale.
He was delighted
Eventually found the pharmacy right down the far end of the mall.
Raced back to the car and headed out to the Southward Car Museum.
We spent a good hour or more there.
Nathan really enjoyed looking at all the cars.
The oldest ones dated back to 1895.

Azzan wasn’t terribly interested in the cars but he did enjoy the bent wobbly mirror that made you look weird.

Shanni bought a couple of t-shirts and Nathan bought a neck pendant.
Then we whizzed back to Countdown.
I did a whirlwind circuit and got the basics we needed.
Then dropped Nathan off with the groceries for Hanne.
I went down the road a bit further and visited Wendy & Oakley.
Azzan enjoyed playing with the baby.
Although he is not too much baby anymore – just turned one year old on Monday.
He is a wee cutie – Shanni took lots of photos of him before we had to leave just before 6pm.
It was beginning to rain.
Just as we were unpacking the car, Leeann & Cat arrived.
Cat loaded a small gas oven into our vehicle – she had sold it on TradeMe and needed it delivered to Nelson.

We sat around chatting before dinner.
I was feeling a bit yuck so had a short lie down.

Dinner was delicious.
It was good to sit and talk for a while.
Then the day was over and it was time for visitors to leave and us to head to bed.
The rain has set in.
It is southerly and cold outside.
I am hoping it will blow over before morning.

Our afternoon at the Parrot Ranch etc

After a few wrong turns we managed to find our way to The Parrot Ranch.

We were greeted by a very friendly guy who spent the next hour taking us on a tour of all their birds, reptiles and monkeys.

The Parrot Ranch started out about 11 years ago as a private collection.
But as more and more folk heard about it and it became a very popular place to go he had to turn it into a business.
It is now a registered zoo.

We began by meeting this cute wee Afghan gecko.

Then there were turtles or tortoises – whatever!
I get confused.
I think this was a box turtle.

Our tour guide was a really interesting guy.
He was very knowledgable and also very decorated.

There were birds wandering about us as we toured.
Of all the gorgeous birds there Shanni wanted to take home a rooster!!!

Major Mitchell cockatoo

Wallabies

The children enjoyed hand feeding them – very cute and soft wee critters.

Citron-crested Cockatoos
(the one above his elbow is an Umbrella Cocaktoo)

These are rare and endangered birds.
The owner is breeding them with the intention of sending breeding birds back to Indonesia so does not sell them commercially.
The children fed them peanuts – being very careful not to let them bite their fingers as they have a huge crushing power.

There was one larger bird in with them.
He is a hand reared White or Umbrella Cockatoo.
He was a real character, it was fun to watch him dance and raise his ‘umbrella’.

The Blue & Yellow Macaws

Shanni feeding one who insisted on hanging upside down to eat.

These baby lizards are over a year old

And they grow into this!

Scarlet Macaws
our guide was delighted to see that the baby in the background had just come out of it’s nest for the first time.

I took heaps more photos but too many would be boring so that is enough for now.
Suffice to say, if you are passing it is worth a visit.
Azzan enjoyed the wee monkeys best.
One was very pregnant so they are hoping she will raise this baby as she killed the last one.

By 3pm we were heading southwards.
I was getting rather drowsy and Azzan was getting rather stroppy from tiredness so when I saw the sign for Lindale Centre I decided to take a detour.
We first went to Kapiti Candies.
Kids heaven

Nathan with the $30 lollipop.
That would last quite a while!!

Shanni with her mouthful of fudge.

After we had all chosen our goodies – limit of one bag/item put on children!! –
we then walked over to the Kapiti Ice Cream shop.
I could’ve gone crazy with all the wonderful sauces and cheeses.
But we limited ourselves to one ice cream each.

Nathan & Azzan chose the Damson Plum & Creme Fraiche flavour.
Shanni had Cookies & Cream.
And I had Vanilla Bean & Espresso.
They were delicious.

From there we were only a spitting distance from Owen & Hanne’s.
We arrived around 4pm and entertained Owen until Hanne arrived back at 6pm.
Shanni & I helped her cook a delicious dinner.
Azzan was very tired so he was asking to go to bed around 7:30pm.
We were all in bed soon after 9pm.

Tuesday morning with Kathy

Despite the rain overnight the day dawned sunny.
Azzan spent all morning making books and creating things with and for Kathy.
After all our traveling the past few weeks he was very happy to have the time and the space and to be let loose with a lot of Kathy’s stash

Kathy had left the Lego out for him but he was not the slightest bit interested.
Shanni was though.
She spent hours building.

She made herself some glasses – very funky!

Then Shanni got into the paper craft too and started making a mosaic picture.

Azzan present Kathy with yet another ‘thank you’ work of art.

I slobbed it in my dressing gown till mid morning.
It was nice not to have to rush.
Nathan spent most of the morning reclining on his bed with his computer.

All too soon it was lunch time.
We ate well again.
Kathy – you are amazing

Azzan had made a sign to add to Kathy’s B&B man.
I think it said – ‘Welcome to Kathy’s place’.

Because Kathy was taking a photo of us for her visitors book I got her to take one on my camera too,

It was after 1pm so we had to hop on board again and head down the road.
We had a 2pm appointment to keep.

Thanks for having us Kathy – it was lovely to visit you in your new B&B.
We will return